Journalists killed while working recalled in Washington memorial

Two Irish among those remembered

The Newseum in Washington, DC. Photograph:  Paul Morigi/Getty Images

The Newseum in Washington, DC. Photograph: Paul Morigi/Getty Images


Two Irish men were among 88 journalists killed in the line of duty who were commemorated at a ceremony at the Newseum, the journalism museum in Washington DC.

Jarlath Dolan, from Ballinasloe, Co Galway, who was Africa correspondent for The Irish Times, was killed in a car accident in 1993 while travelling to Cape Town to report on the closing session of parliament.

Austin Finn, from Naas, Co Kildare, a news photographer with Independent News & Media, was killed in 2001 when he was hit by a car while working on assignment in Dublin.

The names of 82 journalists killed during 2012 were added to the memorial at the annual ceremony in the popular museum on Pennsylvania Avenue.

This is the fourth-highest number of journalists killed in a single year. Dolan and Finn were among six journalists and photographers added to the Newseum’s wall of the fallen who died in earlier years .

Honour roll
The memorial honours more than 2,200 reporters, photographers, broadcasters and news executives from around the world, dating back to 1837.

At this year’s ceremony, there was a special focus on Syria, the deadliest country for journalists last year where 29 lost their lives reporting on the two-year bloody civil war.

The guest speaker at the ceremony, Richard Engel, chief foreign correspondent for NBC News, spoke about his friend, Sunday Times war correspondent Marie Colvin who was killed in Syria last year.

Engel, who was held hostage by armed gunmen in Syria for five days last year, lamented the diminishing number of war reporters in “our roving tribe ... we are being killed off”.

Journalists went to war zones to report “so innocents have a voice”, he said.

“We do it to understand the world and how it changes. The world tends to move like the Earth’s plates. “Tensions build and then suddenly they snap, violently changing. We go where the cracks are,” said Engel.

Cat Colvin, sister of Marie, told The Irish Times afterwards that it was important to raise awareness about the work of war correspondents.

“It is just so important to call attention to the increasing number of journalists who are being killed, trying to bear witness to these wars and trying to bring home the news of what is happening,” she said.

She rejected a suggestion that her sister had been fearless in her reporting. “I think she did feel fear. I think she knew the risk and went in with the knowledge of what might be facing her and judged in each situation that it was worth it,” she said.